Vietnam standing ready to digitalise through EU synergy

09:00 | 02/04/2020
Vietnam, which is taking a leap in digital transformation, is on the radar of multinational corporations, including EU businesses. Winfrid Messmer, and Bruno Sivanandan Roques de Borda from the EuroCham Digital Sector Committee, talked to VIR’s Bich Thuy about how its members will make moves to tap into opportunities arising from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
vietnam standing ready to digitalise through eu synergy
Bruno Sivanandan Roques de Borda (left) and Winfrid Messmer (right) from the EuroCham Digital Sector Committee

Industry 4.0 is making great impacts on sectors in Vietnam. Which sectors are EU ICT businesses most interested in, and what are the future plans among members of EuroCham Digital Sector Committee (DSC)?

One of Vietnam's main targets of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is building e-governance, improving and transforming existing production and trade systems to optimise resource allocation, and investing and improving the efficiency of science and technology activities.

This e-governance strongly relies on data-governance. There are initiatives at the ASEAN and at the Vietnamese level to create a framework for data that echoes European general data protection regulations (GDPR). Such a framework sets the legal boundaries within which businesses can use their data. We are mainly looking at telecoms and cloud computing, since they are the back-bone of digital transformation.

The Sector Committee plan is to help in the creation of such a framework through the European GDPR and the point of view of the businesses constituting it. First, in the context of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), Vietnamese companies that want to export will have to comply with the GDPR. The committee can organise GDRP workshops and training sessions and support Vietnamese companies in this matter.

Secondly, as we are individually running businesses, we shall express our opinion on new policies, in order to draw the fine line between framing the data usage and preventing the business from running, harming the economy.

Vietnam’s sci-tech market is expected to open widely when the EVFTA takes effect. What is the potential growth of the market to EU firms, and how do you compare Vietnam and other regional markets in terms of growth potential and market size?

The EVFTA will boost commerce for many business sectors. As digital is nowadays transverse to all business activities, there is a huge market opening for any technical solution saving time and energy for the business administration, aka a digital solution. For instance, the electronic signature will help foster the business environment by shortening a process which takes a few days into one which takes a few minutes. The payment platforms are becoming more reliable and trusted, saving the costly and delicate handling of money.

In general, digital services are becoming even more relevant with trades taking place between such distant regions of the world. Adam Smith understood in the 18th century that the rise of paper money, way less expensive to use than gold, would help the economy improve by saving finances for concrete added value. We are experiencing a similar transformation, from paper to digital.

Vietnam is making great progress in promoting the digital transformation at the government level. The launch of an e-portal last December was a great step toward fluidifying business administration. In addition, the current pandemic we are facing renders this technology even more vital. We see a boost in digital transformation after the crisis as companies will crave more resilient and sensible systems.

How can members of the Sector Committee contribute to the improvement of ICT education in order to improve the skills of employees and graduates, thus helping Vietnam promote digital transformation?

Vietnam, like many countries, is facing a shortage in skilled workers in the digital field. The new technologies are creating demand for new positions within organisations: chief data officer, data owner, data scientist, data steward, cyber security specialist, and many more.

In order for that demand to be fulfilled, the education system needs to be transformed in order to prepare students to fit into the company's environments. Luckily, if digital technologies challenge the education system, they also offer change possibilities in the way education is provided and how it is equipped. E-learning, multi-streaming devices on the IP network, lifelong learning, individualisation, and gamification of education are now within our reach for implementation.

In parallel, opening education to the international and to the corporate world could greatly enhance the relevance of the student in regards to the market. With the expertise of the DSC and the support of the members of EuroCham we can drive and support the process of ICT skills improvements for graduates and lecturers as well as for reskilling the current workforce also based on best practice.

There are many topics on which EuroCham’s DSC can advise and support. First, it can bring together vocational institutions and enterprises to collaborate in learning contents and lecturer skills improvements matched with the skills requirements of enterprises, as well as drive and consult universities and enterprises to collaborate and initiate research projects.

DSC can drive and support the matching of skills requirements of enterprises and curricula at universities and can also advise in lecturer skills improvement. It can organise events and set up networks with Vietnamese and international vocational institutions.

In addition, the committee can advise, initiate, and support the collaboration between international and national universities also in the region, while supporting the collaboration with Vietnamese universities and national and international enterprises.

Finally, the DSC can give strategic advice to relevant ministries and People’s Committees and other public institutions based on best practice in Europe.

By Bich Thuy

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